From 1 January to 31 December 2019, 1,353 surveys of explosive hazards were conducted in Al-Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Ninewa Governorates in support of high priority stabilization and humanitarian interventions.
Removed approximately 862 explosive remnants of war (ERW), 423 improvised explosive devices (IED), 135 IED main charges, and 40 suicide belts in retaken areas.
Conducted 136 clearance tasks enabling UNDP and the Government of Iraq to move forward with the rehabilitation of critical infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, bridges etc. and humanitarian actors to move forward with urgent life-saving interventions.
Coordinated and completed 5 joint assessment missions enabling the UN and humanitarian partners to deliver humanitarian aid as soon as retaken areas became accessible.
426 police officers, including 85 women trained in First Response to identify, mark and report explosive hazards, 456 UN security personnel, including 154 women trained in Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) and 551 students including 178 women trained in IED awareness.
6,833 UNDP cash-for-work employees, 1,214 Governmental personnel and 701 NGO personnel/humanitarians trained to recognize and behave safely in the presence of explosive hazards while working in high-risk environments such as Mosul.
446,247 people received risk education and risk awareness training in schools, internally displaced person (IDP) camps, and other high priority areas.
Extensive conflict in Iraq to retake cities from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Da’esh displaced more than 5.8 million people between 2014 and 2017 and resulted in significant explosive hazard contamination following associated military campaigns, in addition to IED deliberately left behind by ISIL.
4.6 million people have since returned home and the Government of Iraq, supported by the UN, is working to facilitate the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the remaining 1.4 million people.
The explosive hazard problem is complex, extensive, and exceeds the capacity of the existing resources to address it. The Government, the UN, and other national and international stakeholders have prioritized the clearance of explosive hazards as the essential ‘first step’ before any rehabilitation or reconstruction work can be carried out on key infrastructure or residential buildings. Rehabilitation and reconstruction activities are critical to re-establish basic services and get people home safely to affected areas.
UNMAS addresses the threat posed by explosive hazards in Iraq through three pillars of work:
1. Explosive Hazard Management
A blended approach, combining national and international commercial companies and NGOs, enables survey and clearance response in areas retaken from Da’esh in direct support of the Government of Iraq and UN humanitarian and stabilization plans. When requested through the UN system, UNMAS deploys assessment teams, followed by specialized teams including survey, high-risk search, battle area clearance, mechanical assets, and/or debris management.
2. Training & Technical Support
UNMAS supports a nationally led and implemented response. Building on existing capacities, UNMAS’ focus is to provide training and technical advice to the Government of Iraq in various ministries: mine action authorities, Ministry of Interior (police and civil defence), and government operations coordination centres to support the management, regulation and coordination of response to explosive hazards. The “National Strategy and Executive Plan for Mine Action 2017-2021” were launched in December 2017 with support from UNMAS.
3. Risk Education
Coordinated with the UN Protection Cluster and the national authorities, risk education is provided to affected populations and humanitarian workers. Efforts are specifically targeting communities living in, or returning to, retaken areas are known or suspected to be contaminated with IEDs and explosive hazards. UNMAS has provided national authorities with management training to improve coordination and management of risk education in Iraq.
UNMAS in Iraq is solely funded bilaterally through contributions to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund. In 2019, UNMAS secured USD 31.1 million in funds. To date, UNMAS in Iraq has received contributions from Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand (including in-kind support), Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sweden (including in-kind support), and the United Kingdom.
UNMAS is making consistent efforts to raise additional funds to respond to the needs for survey and clearance, risk education and technical support of government entities, and also to support the Recovery and Resilience Programme and the Humanitarian Response Plan.
Updated: 31 December 2019